Created on Monday, 26 September 2011 15:35
Written by Steve Phua
On 3 September 2011, Hennes & Mauritz – more popularly known as H&M – launched their first store in Singapore, attracting a huge queue of shoppers and campers.
A little on the history of this popular fashion name, H&M is a global fashion retail company, with its headquarters based in Sweden since 1947. And a little trivia on the well-loved brand: Hennes & Mauritz is named separately, with Hennes being known as ‘her’ in Swedish, and Mauritz comes from its acquisition of a store of menswear called Mauritz Widforss.
In other words, H&M is not just a store of female apparels and accessories, but also a place for men’s wear. And with its subsidiaries spread all over 41 countries and with 2300 stores, its quite obvious to all of us now how popular H&M is.
And ever since the news of H&M opening in Singapore leaked out, there has been quite a commotion going on in the lives of fashionistas. What further stimulated the commotion is that, it is conveniently housed at our very own shopping strip along Orchard road.
So, it came as no surprise when just a day before the official opening of H&M, a long queue was already seen at its entrance. An innocent passerby might just think it is the Great Singapore Sale.
Other than those who genuinely wanted to witness the opening of their favorite store overseas, the queue consisted of people who were there to be the first in the line: The first 5 persons were able to receive $250 gift cards and, the subsequent 300, $25 gift cards for the rest in the queue.
But why? Similar to H&M, Japanese brand UNIQLO offers trendy apparels at competitive prices and is just as popular and raved about before it hit our shores. So why is it H&M received so much more attention than UNIQLO? Fashionistas then would scoff at your lack of knowledge. That is because H&M also includes crossover designer brands by icons such as Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney too.
Even then, I feel that the craze for H&M – point in case, the long queue the day before the official opening – is still much blown out of proportion. After all, the store will be there rather permanently. Also, shopping is supposed to be kind of a relaxation after a day of work, not squeezing with the massive crowd in a limited square-foot shop space.
But other than sighing and hiding my embarrassment at the obvious main reason – freebies in the form of H&M gift cards dished out – I believe this would be a case of good publicity and one that we could learn much from.
When there was a passing shower, the H&M staff started passing out umbrellas at no cost and, at some point of time, they dished out mineral water too. Thus, I would like to believe that part of the crowd was achieved through H&M's good marketing and customer relationship prowess too.
In conclusion, rather than shying away from the kiasu and crazed crowds, let's learn from H&M successful campaigning instead.